A Gauteng project manager talks about the Project Management Concepts course

When Anita* first contacted us, it was her intention to study to become a PMP. Although our conversation indicated that she met the prerequisites, we recommended that she do the online Project Management Concepts course first. Anita completed the course in April 2020. Here is what she said about her experience.

What Project Management insights that you gained during the course have been most useful to you?

During my Business Development career, in the various companies I worked for, I was fortunate in a sense having had to wear many hats at times because of company resource constraints and because of my communication and Customer relations skills, found myself by default being part of Project Management Teams. I would fulfil roles such as Programme Manager or some support role having to manage various stakeholders’ expectations, contract negotiations ensuring that appropriate governance processes are followed, structures and various other responsibilities as and when needed. This however was in an environment where formal project management practices, principles and techniques were not at play, where roles were not properly aligned to responsibilities, capabilities and or authority structures.

I am currently working for a company where continued learning and improvement is key and since I always enjoyed being part of Project Management Teams, helping to solve problems and taking advantage of opportunities, doing the Project Management Concepts course helped me to fill those knowledge gaps and enhanced my understanding of project management and the skills I needed to apply proper project management practices, principles, processes, tools and techniques in an actual Project Management environment to deliver successful results. The course gave me a better project management foundation and I am now more knowledgeable of the required disciplines needed to practice project management which makes me feel more competent and I am now projecting a more confident me at work.

Have your writing skills improved as a result of the course? If so, in what way?

Much of my work requires communicating with clients and colleagues and various stakeholders to either inform, solicit new business opportunities or resolve conflict and all this requires well spoken and writing skills. My writing skills have indeed improved since doing the course and having my own List of Terms which helped me iron out some of the confusion with certain terms being used interchangeably and not in the right context. I am now more than ever mindful to make sure not to use terms interchangeably anymore and rather check for the correct meaning and to progressively add to my List of Terms each day or week and having this as a bible to refer to as and when in need.

I am also now more conscious of the different audience types when drafting documents or sending emails since one never know who your emails may be forwarded to and I thus always make sure to maintain a professional tone in my communication, keeping in mind that it needs to fit immediate readers interests, requirements and issues and concerns.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how comfortable were you with reading basic schedule information* before the course and by the end of the course?

3 before and 9 by the end.

* Schedule information refers to plans drawn up in project scheduling software such as Microsoft Project, using the Critical Path Method (employing a network diagram), and Gantt charts.

What personal changes have you made as a result of the course?

I must admit that before the course I use to procrastinate on basically everything, but I have since started keeping stock of what works and abandoned those habits that do not work for me, my daily routine has changed drastically for the better. The course also inspired me to have my own bucket list which was quite an insightful exercise and coming up with my own list gave me new-found enthusiasm knowing what I have planned ahead for my professional and personal life and not living in default mode anymore.

Learning about the Rule for Risk has also been quite profound and even though it started slowly I have started to apply this habit at work by timely reporting on risk matters, no matter minor the risk may seem, I am now more proactively doing so.

The question-centred learning approach of the course also forced me to challenge myself to think critically when engaging study material and other matters and to take responsibility for my own learning and I am reaping rewards as a result, both at work and my other formal course that I am doing.

How would you describe your overall experience of the Project Management Concepts course?

The Project Management Concepts course is well structured and the integrated question-centred learning approach of the course forced me to challenge myself to think more critically and instilled a good sustainable habit of learning on a daily basis and it change the way I use to view learning for the better. I am more decisive and have more structure in my life since doing this course and would recommend this course to those who I think would benefit greatly from it.

How did this course and method of learning differ from other formal studies which you’ve done (or which you’re doing right now)?

I am more of an Intrapersonal learner and the overall course structure of the Project Management Concepts course offered me the learning style that worked well for me and the course also empowered me in connecting the dots for a much deeper understanding of Project Management. The fixed study schedule suggested in the beginning of the course and the weekly tests/assessments, unlike with other online courses forced me to research content and delve into details and study in advance, and I think this is also one other aspect of the course which kept me focussed and determined to learn more and to successfully complete the course. I was also able to improve my marks with the other formal study course I am currently doing since I no longer procrastinate and have a study schedule with accordingly allotted times I learned to stick to despite my crazy schedules and this is a discipline and study habit which I have learned from the Project Management Concepts course. The Project Management Concepts course has indeed change the way I view learning and I have benefitted greatly both personally and professionally in the elements of managing my time better through this course.

* Anita requested that we do not publish her real name, but gave permission for her answers to be published in full. See also this interview with Dr. Ryan Antunes who finished the course a week earlier.


Find out more about the Project Management Concepts course

Tania Melnyczuk

Director of Programme Design at ProjectManagement.co.za and the Collaboration Director of the Autistic Strategies Network.

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